If it's crap ... We'll tell you
Oh, hey there. Didn't see you walk in. I did a coin toss to see what this article would be about: Violence in video games, or my top 10 favorite first-person shooter games. I got tails. Damn it. I really wanted to talk about Republic Commando.
Video games these days are the trendy punching bag for political pundits, overzealous news anchors, and people who have, in all honesty, never actually played the games they decry. Is it their fault that Video Games are looked down on so often these? Not really. After all, they're from a different era, and much like the reactions they received from their parents, anything new they see from the youngsters scares the ever-loving shit out of them because it's different. Don't worry, they'll die off soon enough, and then we'll inherit the Earth. But while we wait for the sweet sound of the dying breaths of the FOXNEWS anchors, I thought it would be nice discussing modern Video Games that depict bloodshed and violence.
With the controversy surrounding games like Six Days in Fallujah and Medal of Honor, many decried how irresponsible the developers were for creating a narrative that so-called 'mocked' the seriousness of the actual war; Medal of Honor itself turned out to be more of a arcade shooter than a more 'realistic' depiction of warfare. Quick question, have you all seen the offensive stereotypes in Tora, Tora, Tora? How about the ludicrous scenes in A Bridge too Far where it literally turns into a shooting gallery for the allied forces? I have yet to hear these critics retroactively condemn these types of movies regarded as classics; would critics accept such black-and-white cliches in films about war these days unless it was trying to say something, like Inglourious Basterds? No, they wouldn't. That's because movies have grown out of their childish depictions of what war is and video games are doing the same; they're not there yet, but they're certainly getting there in a shorter amount of time than their movie counterparts.
This next point may seem extremely general, but I'm going to address it anyway. Why is there violence in Video Games? For the same reason that violence is in any story - drama. From the works of the Greeks to modern-day films, violence has always been a topic of interest for humanity. Some may claim that we enjoy watching violence for the sake of some form of twisted entertainment, but I disagree with that line of thinking. I believe that violence causes us feelings of interest because we all, humanity, can be easily affected by violence. We're engaged as viewers to see violence happen to characters because we can, on one level or another, relate to their suffering. Should we stop exploring aspects of violence? Hell no! The idea of exploring violence in humanity is quintessential to some of the greatest works of human literature (Dante's Inferno) and some of our more favorite pieces of pop-culture entertainment (Kick-ass).
Lastly, I must stress that obtaining respect from those decrying this media requires something that I think is heavily lacking in the Video Game populace - a cool head. You can make snide remarks on Amazon.com about an author that called Video Games rape-inducers, but that doesn't make us look good. Do we need to speak up when such utterly absurd accusations are made? Yes, but we need to do so in a logical and collective manner. Prove to the ambulance chasers that those who play violent Video Games aren't serial killers training in an online game of Call of Duty.
Thank you very much for reading this article and take some time to ponder over how our society views violence next time your chainsawing some poor sucker in the 'nads in Gears of War.